Putting Your House’s Best Face Forward

Putting Your House’s Best Face Forward

Every year, the Garden Club of Virginia’s Historic Garden Week in Virginia demonstrates the power of “curb appeal” – the term often used to refer to the aesthetics of a property’s exterior. H.J. Holtz & Son understands the importance of that initial impression.

“There’s so much to think about outside,” says company President Rick Holtz. “Shutters, windows, trim, and doors – these are all obvious. But you also have fences, railings, porches, benches, even outbuildings. Sometimes, homeowners don’t consider those elements, because they’re so focused on the inside, but that’s what people see first.”

For 2024’s tour, Holz & Son worked at 4601 Lilac Lane, where on April 23 ticket-holders will be able to tour nearly four acres of garden and farm, tucked inside Richmond’s city limits. The homeowners, longtime Holtz clients, had the company repaint shutters and doors as well as paint the entire pool house. Tour participants on April 25 will be able to see 109 Nottingham Road, which has a fresh, Holtz-painted front door covered in a Fine Paints of Europe coating.

Not everyone has a house that will someday be featured on a Historic Garden Week tour, but an exterior assessment to take stock of what might need a refresh is recommended at least once a year. Outdoor surfaces are subjected to greater wear and tear than indoor spaces, thanks to the effects of sun, wind, precipitation, and even bugs and wildlife. With an in-house carpentry division, Holtz & Son is often able to repair or replace damaged wood, so a separate contractor isn’t necessary. 

“In the past, we’ve rebuilt an entire gazebo, and we regularly fix railing posts and fences,” Holtz says. “Our carpentry team works both on-site and in our new expanded shop, which allows them to manage multiple jobs at a time with greater efficiency.”

To schedule an evaluation of your home’s exterior, call H.J. Holtz & Son, 804-358-4109.

Sponsored by the Garden Club of Virginia, Historic Garden Week dates to 1929, when it began as a way to raise money for historic Kenmore, the Fredericksburg home of Betty Washington Lewis, George Washington’s sister. Funds raised support the ongoing restoration and preservation of Virginia’s historic public gardens and landscapes across the state as well as a research fellowship program in landscape architecture. 

For more information about Historic Garden Week or to purchase tickets, visit https://www.vagardenweek.org/.

Historic Garden Week Comes to Richmond April 23,24,25

Historic Garden Week Comes to Richmond April 23,24,25

The spectacular properties featured during Historic Garden Week have been prepped for a year or more for their time in the spotlight. Participating homeowners know that hundreds of people are eager to see meticulous gardens and plantings as well as pristine interiors filled with floral arrangements created by the state’s garden club members. Nearly every year, H.J. Holtz and Son helps to ensure those spaces look their best by providing interior painting, exterior painting, custom cabinetry, and cabinetry painting. 

“We’re always happy to assist an existing or new client who’s getting their house ready for the tour,” says company president Rick Holtz. “Sometimes, it’s a small project, like painting the front door and shutters, but other times, the homeowner realizes that they want a full interior refresh.”

Timing is everything when it comes to getting ready for a big event, whether it’s Historic Garden Week, or any special event. “We always encourage people to call us as soon as they have a date in mind,” Holtz says. “Our calendar typically fills quickly, but we want to help repeat customers when we can, and sometimes we have an unexpected opening. And we’re diligent to make sure we hit deadlines.” 

Crews have been hard at work for weeks to ensure Holtz client homes are ready for this year’s Richmond dates: Tuesday, April 23, in Windsor Farms-Nottingham; Wednesday, April 24, in River Hill; and Thursday, April 25, in Windsor Farms-Coventry. Visitors will see Holtz handiwork in homes on both the April 23 and 25 tours.

Tuesday, April 23

Windsor Farms – hosting two tours this year – was envisioned in the early 1920s as an upscale residential neighborhood away from the grittiness of the city. Designed in an English garden style popular at the time, the carefully plotted area features many historic homes that have been thoughtfully modernized. 

At 209 Nottingham Road, Holtz & Son team members painted cabinets in advance of Historic Garden Week for a new client. At 4601 Lilac Lane, where only the exterior gardens are open for the tour, the Holtz team did exterior painting on the pool house and main residence shutters and doors.

Thursday, April 25

On this second day in Windsor Farms, visitors will encounter varied architectural styles, including English Tudor, Storybook or Cotswold, and European Revival.

At 4300 Dover Road, Holtz team members painted both the dining and living rooms as well as two interior fireboxes with high heat paint. At 4500 Coventry Road, the team hung new wallpaper in the den and painted several chairs in the shop. Projects at 109 Nottingham Road included painting the front door, crown moldings, windows and trim. Holtz craftspeople also installed wallpaper in both the living room and family room, and painted in those rooms as well. The living room also features a Holtz Built cabinet.

Sponsored by the Garden Club of Virginia, Historic Garden Week dates to 1929, when it began as a way to raise money for historic Kenmore, the Fredericksburg home of Betty Washington Lewis, George Washington’s sister. Since then, the tour has been canceled only twice: once during World War II and in 2020, due to the COVID pandemic. Funds raised support the ongoing restoration and preservation of Virginia’s historic public gardens and landscapes across the state as well as a research fellowship program in landscape architecture. 

For more information about Historic Garden Week or to purchase tickets, visit https://www.vagardenweek.org/.

Holtz Expands Window Restoration Services

Holtz Expands Window Restoration Services

Only one thing can detract from a beautifully painted home exterior: shabby windows. That’s why H.J. Holtz & Son has extended its services to include full window restoration.

“We see this as a need for our customers,” says company President Rick Holtz. “We have the expertise when it comes to painting and carpentry; all we needed to do was apply those skills to windows.”

The Holtz carpentry division has added staff in recent years, enabling the company to increase its wood restoration and repair capabilities. The ability to offer those services has proved especially useful for older homes, which most often need carpentry repair throughout the structure. Because windows involve the joining of glass to wood, they are especially vulnerable to temperature swings, weather ranging from severe summer storms to freezing winter precipitation, and even blunt force (think tree limbs or hurled balls). Without careful monitoring, windows will, quite literally, fall apart. 

Before beginning any exterior painting job, a Holtz project manager completes a thorough inspection, looking for any areas showing damage that can include wood rot, mold or organic growth, or any other harm that should be repaired before painting can begin. That inspection includes the windows, when the need for window restoration might be identified. 

“We don’t want to overlook any issue,” Holtz says. 

Sometimes, only one window needs attention, but if your house has original wood windows that are more than 30 years old, it’s likely they all need work. The glazing – the putty that holds the glass in the sash – breaks down over time. Without a solid seal, moisture and even bugs can make inroads, leading to the need for larger repairs or replacement.  

With an expanded work space in the company’s new location in Chesterfield, the Holtz carpentry team is able to efficiently manage even large jobs. The first step in window restoration is to bring the windows to the shop, where they are disassembled. The sashes are stripped of paint and any necessary repairs are made. Then the window is reassembled, primed, and painted. The team then replaces or reinstalls the glass, reglazing with fresh putty for a thorough seal. Special care is taken during the priming stage to prevent mold growth, as the primer used provides a line of defense against encroaching moisture. The team can also improve the window’s pulley system by replacing original rope with a metal chain, making it easier to open and close the window. 

The team is currently working with a general contractor who is restoring a home nearing its centennial. The owner wanted to keep the original windows for historical accuracy, so Holtz carpenters are fixing and repainting all 50+ windows. 

“It’s a privilege for us to help return this house to pristine condition,” Rick Holtz says. “We are so happy to have the in-house expertise that’s needed to maintain the authenticity of these windows while ensuring they remain fully functional for years to come.”


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Second Annual Holtz Appreciation Lunch Set for February

Second Annual Holtz Appreciation Lunch Set for February

The team at H.J. Holtz & Son knows the value of relationships. As a third-generation family-owned company, we enjoy working with designers, contractors, and vendors over and over again, because we know that strong collaboration benefits clients. 

As a thank-you to our professional partners and to celebrate those connections, last year we held a Designers and Contractors Appreciation Lunch at Independence Golf Club. The location was fitting, as we’ve worked with Independence over the years to freshen their spaces. The event was so successful – with representatives of 8 paint, wallpaper, and millwork companies showcasing their lines – and more than 60 designers and other business partners in attendance, that we decided to do it again!

This year’s event will also be in February, a time of year when many of us think about what and who we love – thanks to Valentine’s Day and prompting from heart-themed store displays. Many of last year’s representatives will be on hand, as will additional friends eager for conversations with others in the same industry. We are excited to see what new products and ideas are surfacing in the industry and happy to bring together people who share our ethos of customer service and high-quality workmanship. 

If you’re in the industry and would like to join us, please give the office a call!

A Fresh Face for the Historic Bolling Haxall House

A Fresh Face for the Historic Bolling Haxall House

Five years ago, H.J. Holtz & Son team members updated the first-floor interior of the historic Bolling Haxall House, an 1858 Italianate Mansion at the corner of East Franklin and North Third Streets, with fresh wallpaper and paint. Last summer, Holtz & Son was on site again.

This time, the project was bigger – and far more visible.

Following a thorough exterior cleaning from local partner Envirowash, Holtz painters and carpenters repainted the entire stucco exterior, replaced rotted wood, rebuilt balconies, and refurbished windows in the rooftop belvedere, the square cupola at the top of the house.

“So many people drive down East Franklin Street and see this house,” says Leighann Scott Boland, executive director of The Woman’s Club, which calls the Bolling Haxall House home. “For a while now, we’ve been reminded of the Lady Astor quote about Savannah, Georgia: ‘a beautiful woman with a dirty face.’ This house has always been beautiful; now she has a clean face, too.”

The historic Bolling Haxall House welcomes visitors regularly. The Woman’s Club, founded in 1894 to provide educational opportunities for women, meets most weeks from September through April. Additionally, the building hosts special events year-round, including Junior Assembly Cotillion dances, weddings and musical concerts.

“We are looking forward to hosting more events in the near future,” Boland says. “That’s when this house really shines – when it’s full of people.”

Of course, visitors see the outside first. To both improve the home’s aesthetics and fortify structural elements, the Holtz team conducted a full assessment of the exterior, which revealed more rot in woodwork than was expected. Carpentry craftsmen rebuilt railings, balusters, and supports. In the belvedere, which offers 360-degree views of the surrounding city via eight towering windows, the team was also tasked with rebuilding frames and sashes.

“There was more damage up there than we realized,” Boland says.

While the process wasn’t without challenges – a bucket lift brought in to reach the belvedere inadvertently damaged a railing, which was repaired – Boland says the Holtz team made the project as enjoyable as they could.

“I love the guys who were here; they were so respectful,” she says. “They always cleaned up after themselves and found ways to keep working when the weather wasn’t cooperating. They knew we had programs resuming in September and did everything they could to make sure we had a beautiful new facade to share with our members when they returned.”

Passers-by enjoyed the transformation, too. “We would look out the windows and see that people on foot and on bicycles would stop and watch the work; some even took photos,” she says. “And our members were so impressed by the improvements when our programming resumed in the fall.”

The exterior work also garnered attention from industry professionals, as it was named one of four finalists in the “Best Exterior Renovation” category of the Golden Hammer Awards, presented annually by the Historic Richmond Foundation in partnership with Storefront for Community Design. At the awards ceremony held in early November, the Bolling Haxall House Foundation, which maintains the property, The Woman’s Club, and H.J. Holtz and Son were recognized for their efforts to preserve one of downtown Richmond’s most beloved and historic structures.

Though the project didn’t win the top prize – which went to the restoration of Old City Hall – the refurbished exterior of the Bolling Haxall House demonstrates what’s possible when careful craftsmanship is applied to a home in need.

“Everyone at H.J. Holtz & Son was wonderful to work with,” Boland says. “They were quick to respond, professional, and definitely went above and beyond to ensure that our beautiful home is once again one of the shining jewels on East Franklin Street.”

New Holtz Painting Shop Continues to Evolve

New Holtz Painting Shop Continues to Evolve

Everyone knows that moving into a new place is a process. Decisions have to be made about how to best use the space, what renovation or construction is essential immediately, and where everything is going to go.

Now imagine that new location isn’t a house for a family, but a building for a fully functioning company, with ongoing projects in need of attention and employees in need of work areas. That’s what H.J. Holtz & Son has been experiencing over the last six months.

“We knew this was a big change, but it doesn’t really hit you until you’re in it,” says Rick Holtz, the Holtz Painting president and third generation owner. “We’ve been going full steam since we moved in, and there’s more to do.”

The company purchased the new location, a former auto repair shop, in May and began work immediately to make it their own. They’ve removed interior walls to create an open space where estimators and project managers can confer and hung new drywall throughout to create a fresh, clean environment. Virtually all of the interior changes are being handled by the Holtz team, except for significant electrical work, which is managed by Jon Calhoun of Cardinal Electrical Services, a regular partner.

The new shop at 2025 Tacony Drive, near the intersection of Hull Street Road and Chippenham Parkway, is nearly double the size of the company’s former location in Scott’s Addition. The added room allows for additional spray booths, greater dedicated space for the carpentry division, and more holding area for projects that are in process.

“We didn’t realize how cramped we were at the old location until we got in here,” Holtz says. “Even though we’ve got more arranging to do, to use this space to its full potential, we’re already able to better manage work flow. And we don’t feel like we’re constantly bumping into one another.”

The company’s shift from Scott’s Addition to Chesterfield County makes no difference when it comes to serving clients.

“We have clients throughout the Richmond metro area,” Holtz says. “With the Chippenham Parkway right here, we have access to expressways that take us wherever we need to go. It’s a great spot.”

As for when the new shop will be fully finished, don’t hold your breath. “It’s like the old saying about the cobbler’s children who go barefoot because everyone gets shoes before they do,” Holtz says. “We’re still putting our clients first. Our shop can be perfect later.”